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Gloucester storms into Final of Challenge Cup

MATCH REPORT: Gloucester booked their place in the Final of the Challenge Cup after defeating Benetton 40-23 at Kingsholm on Saturday.


Wing Ollie Thorley dotted down for the hosts’ fifth and final try to add the cherry on top of the cake to what was an impressive display from the Cherry and Whites at Kingsholm.

The Premiership club will now face Sharks at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 24 in the EPCR Challenge Cup final.

Gloucester crossed twice in the first half to settle any nerves that might have been present amongst the crowd at Kingsholm; fullback Josh Hathaway opened the tryscoring with an improvised finish before hooker Seb Blake dotted down as the pack drove over following a five meter line-out.

A penalty and a conversion from flyhalf Adam Hastings helped the Premiership club lead at the break, but two penalties from Benetton  flyhalf Tomas Albornoz and a brilliant finish from fullback Rhyno Smith with the clock in the red ensured the Italian club only lagged by four.

A Hastings penalty got the second half underway before Benetton cut the gap to their hosts with an unconverted score from replacement Gianmarco Lucchesi, but the Premiership club would stretch their lead once again with Hastings reaching for the line before converting his own try.

He added another set of extras moments later after Freddie Clarke plucked an interception, the match racing away from Benetton just as Clarke raced away to finish between the posts.


Gloucester now firmly had one foot in the EPCR Challenge Cup final, but the Italian club was determined to drag them back into a fight and Lucchesi bundled over for his second try.

The stage seemed set for an exciting final ten minutes.

A penalty from scrumhalf Caolan Englefield strengthened the hosts’ position and extinguished Benetton’s flame – Thorley sealing the win and paving the path from Kingsholm to Tottenham.



For Gloucester:
Tries: Hathaway, Blake, Hastings, Clarke
Cons: Hastings 3
Pens: Hastings 2

For Benetton:
Tries: Smith, Lucchesi 2
Cons: Albornoz
Pens: Albornoz 2, Englefield


Gloucester: 15 Josh Hathaway, 14 Jonny May, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Caolan Englefiled, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Freddie Thomas, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Seb Blake, 1 Mayco Vivas.
Replacements: 16 Santi Socino, 17 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Albert Tuisue, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 Charlie Atkinson, 23 Alex Hearle.

Benetton: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Ignacio Mendy, 13 Tommaso Menoncello, 12 Ignacio Brex, 11 Onisi Ratave, 10 Tomas Albornoz, 9 Alessandro Garbisi, 8 Toa Halafihi, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Scott Scrafton, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Thomas Gallo.
Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Giosué Zilocchi, 19 Niccolò Cannone, 20 Edoardo Iachizzi, 21 Alessandro Izekor, 22 Andy Uren, 23 Leonardo Marin.

Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
Assistant referees: Mike Adamson (Scotland); Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)


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